Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

I can only hope that my new painting brings as much enjoyment as the first two railroad paintings and completes the railroad trilogy of the Valley Pike. –Mort Künstler

Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike by Mort Künstler

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

I moved my viewpoint to street level instead of an elevation and showed Engine 208 making the final turn just before arriving at the Strasburg railroad yards. I was also able to include a view of the iconic Signal Knob peak in the painting. – Mort Künstler

To the right of the painting, pictured in a red kepi, rides Captain Thomas Robinson Sharp, an Assistant Quartermaster in the Confederate army and the officer in charge of the operation. Raised in a railroad family, Sharp had held supervisory positions at five southern railroads including the Virginia & Tennessee and Alabama & Florida.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

Teams of forty horses were hitched together to pull the massive load. These wagon teams included mules, thoroughbreds and workhorses, wearing all sorts of improvised harnesses. Their appearance, while negotiating turns and grades on the macadamized surface of the Valley Pike, must have presented an incredible spectacle, as teams, locomotives, ox carts and wagon-loads of equipment were driven south for the “cause.”

The children running along the street captures the thrill felt on this monumental occasion.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

This remarkable event was the first time that a train relocation of this magnitude had taken place on any railroad system in the world. It was in response to the Union army blockades that interrupted rail access from Martinsburg to the southern railroad system.

The buildings seen from the corners of Massanutten and King Streets were there during the civil war and still stand today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

According to a Strasburg newspaper article that appeared on the 7th of September, “Fourteen locomotives, a large number of railroad cars, nine miles of track, telegraph wires and about $40,000.00 worth of machinists’ tools and materials, all belonging to the B&O Railroad, have been successfully hauled overland by the Confederates.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

After several tours of the route of the Old Valley Pike (present day Route 11), I finally came up with an idea that does not look at all like either one of the first two paintings. Mort Künstler

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Making of "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

Last year I received an invitation from the Strasburg 2-5-0 Committee, who informed me that they were hosting the first official event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in the state of Virginia. The festivities include a reenactment of my painting on Memorial Day weekend 2011. A replica locomotive was already being built for the occasion and the committee asked if I could do a painting especially for the event. - Mort Künstler

The canvas all drawn up

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Making of Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike

After having painted Jackson Commandeers the Railroad in 1998 and Iron Horses, Men of Steel in 2000, I have received many requests to do a third painting showing the final stage of the incredible thirty-eight mile overland trip up the Valley Pike from Martinsburg to Strasburg. -
Mort Künstler

Here is Mort's final sketch before he transfers it on to brown paper.

He uses brown paper so he can highlight with chalk the light effect.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Making of Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike

Preliminary drawings Mort did before choosing the final composition.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Prelude to "Heavy Traffic on the Valley Pike"

In 1998, I painted Jackson Commandeers the Railroad. At the time, it was one of the most difficult paintings I had ever done and it was announced as the first in a series of two paintings. This complex piece depicted Jackson organizing a joint military-civilian operation in the railroad yards of Martinsburg, Virginia.


All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Knstler, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright 2001-2018. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.